Friday, August 04, 2006

The jackal and the little lamb, a cold, and good news about the copier

Hey everyone,

I understand that it’s been really hot there this summer. Conversely it’s been really cold here. Not a really busy week.

We played a good game about living positively and helping others called The Jackal and The Little Lamb in science class. I got it out of a book called _Building_Resilience_in

_Children_Affected_by_HIV/Aids_ which is put out by Catholic Aids Action. I split the class into two groups and had them get into circles. Then I gave each group a “lamb” (actually a white washcloth.) They practiced passing it around the circle. Then I gave each group a “jackal” (actually a pair of my gray socks.) If the jackal reached the lamb it got eaten. The idea is that a few kids want to speed up the jackal so it can eat the lamb, but most kids try to protect the lamb by slowing the jackal down and speeding the lamb up. Then we talked about how every community has people who are weaker, like the little lamb and each child has the power to either help protect those people to hurt them, just like each child had the power to help the little lamb or to hurt it. When we don’t do anything to help them, when we pass the lamb and jackal at the same speed, we make it easier for others to hurt them, but when lots of people in the community are working together to help them then they can protect and strengthen other people. We talked about people who could be like the little lamb (HIV positive people, orphans, grandparents or other community members raising lots of kids, disabled people, etc.) I think some of the kids really latched on to the idea. We’ve done a lot more about stigma reduction than about HIV prevention in class because I think the kids have had the A.B.C. prevention plan nailed into their heads and because I think that stigma reduction and helping vulnerable people is something that is easier to neglect in HIV/Aids education. I want to make sure
that they know that they don’t have to be afraid of HIV positive people and that they have the power to help others.

It has been really cold this week. I have been sick but I'm starting to get better. I almost stayed home on Thursday but I decided that the kids needed me in the last couple of days before exams so I went anyway. I bundled up in a long sleeved shirt, three sweaters, a scarf and a hat, I told them not to mess with me, and I went home to sleep after my science class. I slept under a blanket and my sleeping bag with wool socks, my polar fleece pajamas, and a hat. I’m not sure how cold it is but it’s at least freezing because there’s frost on the roofs and the tips of the sand dunes in the mornings. I really worry about the kids in the hostel. This week I found out that they only have 94 mattresses for 206 learners in the hostel (almost all of them sleep two to a bed and some of the littler ones sleep three to a bed) and the learners have to provide their own blankets (meaning that some of them don’t have much to cover them.)

There is some really good news about the copier project—it looks like we almost have enough to buy the copier. I’ll probably buy it when I get to Windhoek this term break. I am writing to Jason (the IT volunteer in Windhoek) about it. I want him to send me some info (if it isn’t too much trouble for him I’d really like to get a couple of choices so my headmaster and the people at my school feel like it’s their project and their choice and not the copier that the Peace Corps volunteer picked out and purchased.)

I made cornbread the other day. It’s nice because the only things it requires that I can’t get in Anker are eggs and milk powder and I try to keep a pretty good supply of those things on hand. Plus it’s a way (other than porridge) to use cornmeal which is by far the most common and cheapest food available (one kg costs N$5.5 and if I want to buy in bulk I can get it even cheaper.) I also tried to make cream of tomato soup with milk powder and tomato puree. It wasn’t very good (I think it was the milk powder) but I ate some of it anyway and then I made the rest into spaghetti sauce. I usually buy a couple of cans of cream of tomato soup but I haven’t gotten groceries for a while. I’ll have to get some soon. I was hoping to get some today, but there wasn't anyone going to Kamanjab. I suppose I should use up some more of the food that I have here since term break is coming.

Funny story, a week ago I was leaving the library on a Friday and I said to some of the kids "See you later alligator" and Elizabeth said to me, "Miss, we are not alligators." As if I had deeply offended her. It was pretty funny. I told her she was right, that they were a lot more like baboons than alligators

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